Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stracotto with Porcini Mushrooms

Instead of brisket for Rosh Hashanah this year, I decided to go with this really delicious Italian pot roast my friend Elizabeth served last Passover. It was just so rich with flavor. It's swimming in this succulent, full-bodied sauce made with onions, red wine and earthy dried porcini mushrooms. While technically it's not a brisket, it's so similar, I doubt anyone will even notice the difference.

Side note: I have never been able to successfully slice a brisket or pot roast. I've been served some very handsome strips at friends' houses and seen photos of perfect portions in magazines and on the internet. Mine, however, is always a hot mess (and yes, I do wait for it to cool off a little and slice it against the grain). I know I'm doing something right because it's so tender that it just falls apart. Which is really what you want in a brisket/roast. So I just heat it up in the sauce and serve it like stew.

Serves: 8-10 servings

1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1 3/4 cups canned beef broth
1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish

1.       Preheat oven to 350º F.
2.       Pat the beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy 6-quart roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total cooking time. Transfer the beef to a bowl.
3.       Add remaining tablespoon oil to the pan; add the onions and saute until tender, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the wine and boil 1 minute. Stir in the broth and mushrooms. Return the beef to the pan. Bring the liquids to a boil. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until the beef is fork-tender, turning the beef over halfway through cooking, about 3 hours.
4.       Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent the beef with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Transfer the pan juices and vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth (or blend using an immersion blender). Combine the sauce and rosemary sprig in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
5.       Cut the beef across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the sliced beef on a platter and garnish with rosemary. Spoon the sauce over and serve, passing the remaining sauce in a sauce boat.

from Giada De Laurentiis
chuck roast

My roast came tied with twine. It isn't necessary
to tie it, but in this case, it was helpful (I don't think
it would have fit in my pot otherwise).
browning the roast
slicing the onions
cooking the onions
garlic cloves
wine added
dried porcini mushrooms (you gotta love the name)
adding the porcinis
adding the roast back to the pot
roast turned over, about halfway through cooking
done (and twine removed)
roast resting while I blend the sauce
I used the immersion blender (I only had to burn
myself 5 or 6 times before I realized I needed one).
rosemary added
slicing the roast

Here's where it all falls apart (literally). See, hot mess.
stracotto stew


Randi said...

You are really dialing up your beef skills.

PS. Ordered babka from Green's. Thanks for the tip.

Susan said...

After being a vegetarian for so many years, my beef skills have no where to go but up!

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